“All communal dispute will be end, when uniform civil code become brand.” – Mehak Saini
A uniform civil code seeks to provide one law for entire country, applicable to all religious communities in their personal matter such as marriage, divorce, inheritance, adoption etc. Article 44 of the Directive Principle of State Policy (Part 4) of the constitutions lays down that the state shall endeavor to secure a uniform civil code for citizen throughout the territory of India number of time constitution assembly debate on the issue but come with question that would uniform civil code exist with personal law system or replaying the person laws there are many people who thought uniform civil code deny freedom of religion as it is given as fundamental right by constitution of India.
The origin of the uniform civil code dates back to colonial India when British government submitted its report in 1835 stressing the need for uniformity in the codification of Indian law relating to crimes, evidence and contracts specifically recommending that personal laws of Hindus & Muslim be kept outside such codification. Portuguese during their rule in Goa & Daman diu had separately codified local custom of each of these territories and after independence of Portuguese territory in 1961. Indian government ruled out that the Portuguese laws would continue until amended or repeated by a competent authority among these was the Portuguese civil code, 1867.
Increase in legislation dealing with personal issue in the far end of British rule forced the government to form BN Rao committee to codify Hindu laws in 1941. Based on this recommendations, a bill was then adopted in 1956 as the Hindu succession and to amend and codify the law relating or unwilled succession among Hindu, Buddhist, Jains & Sikhs. The act reformed the Hindu personal laws and gave women greater property right and ownership it gave women property right in their father’s estate. However there were separate personal laws for Muslim , Christian and Parsis.
As controversy like ‘Hijab’ taking rise now a day. Uniform civil code need of the day for ensuring equality in India society UCC play an important role. Presently in Indian different communities are governed by different personal laws like Hindu Marriage Act 1955, Hindu Succession Act 1956 & Hindu Minority & Guardianship Act 1956. While other communities having their other personal laws. It can be argued that personal law system violets the principle of equality of the constitutions. So UCC will act as mean to achieve clarity, simplicity and intelligibility in personal laws. UCC also required for national integration uniform civil code separate religion from social relations and personal laws ensuring equality & harmony in society. It will help in integration of India as uniformity in all communities. UCC will promote gender justice by removing in inbuilt discriminatory provision of personal laws under the Hindu laws the milakshara branch by law denied to a Hindu daughter a right by birth in the joint family estate and this flowed logically from the fact that her place in paternal family was only temporary as she was belonged to her husband’s family on marriage. Islamic laws prescribes that generally a man’s share of the inheritance is double that of a women in the same degree of relationship to the deceased.
UCC also provide freedom of choice a regional laws would encourage protection of couple in case of inter-caste and inter-religious marriages. Even act like the special marriage act 1954 permit any citizen to have a civil marriage out any religion they belong. UCC act as promoting the secularism one set of laws to govern the personal matters of all citizen irrespective of religion is the cornerstone of true secularism. It would help end gender discrimination on religious ground and strengthen the secular fabric of the nation.
Most importantly UCC provide protection to the vulnerable & women right. Women have been denied via personal laws in name of socio-cultural religious traditions, therefore UCC could bring all communities together to ensure women the right to a dignified life and control over their life as well as body UCC also make it easy to administer the huge population of India. UCC helps to reduce discord as it and when the whole population will start following the same laws chance are there that it would bring more peace in the living and reduce riots. Hence religious harmony will be created for peaceful living in the country.
UCC prevent religion based discrimination as it provide same provision regarding martial affairs would provide justice to those who feel discriminated against. UCC also reduce the pressure on Indian judiciary as they have to give justice according to different personal laws of UCC is there then there work will become easy and it help to reduce pressure on judiciary and getting fast justice and reducing cases also.
But as UCC give number of merits, it having huge challenges also. The first and foremost is violation of fundamental right Religious bodies oppose uniform civil code on the ground that it would be interference into religious affair which would violate fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 25 of constitution.
India is known for diversity. But by applying UCC leads to reduce diversity of India by painting everyone with same color. Tribal have their unique custom and tradition as per their culture. Replacing their custom and tradition with an unified law may lead to the identity. Crisis of tribes this may further lead to social tension. UCC also give rise to unrest to country for some days due to communal politics. It would be a tyranny to the minority and when implemented could bring a lots of unrest in the country. UCC also leads to threat to multiculturalism. Indian society has a unique identity in the form of its being multiculturalism and unified law might do away with these unique characteristic this nation. UCC also affect the majority as well for example. Even Hindu themselves have separate Hindu laws for themselves thus it is not merely a question for minorities but it also affect the majority. The most importance challenge for implementation of UCC is unwillingness a political community as they taking advantage of this communal dispute between different societies.
Another challenge is contradictory provision of the constitution. Article 371(1) and sixth schedule of the constitution of India provide certain protection or rather exception to the state of Assam, Nagaland, Mizoram, Andhra Pradesh and Goa with respect to family laws. While farming this law it has to born in mind that cultural diversity cannot be. Compromised to the extent that our urge for uniformly itself become a reason for threat to the territorial integrity of the nation. It has been argued that UCC threaten a pluralistic society like India, where people have confidence in their respective religious belief or doctrine that have be presented by different religion. In 2018 law commission of India opined that the uniform civil code is neither necessary nor desirable at this stage in the country.
Indian secularism also threated by UCC the supreme court in TMA Pai foundation vs State of Karnataka reiterated that essence of Secularism in India is recognition and persecution of different type of people, with diverse languages & different beliefs and placing them together so also form a whole united India. There are lots of issues relating to drafting of UCC. There is not guideline or a vision documents, weather UCC be a blend of all the personal law or a new and common law adhering to the constitution mandate.
It is also play as threat to minorities as addressing minorities concern such as separation, conservation and misconceived nation about personal laws. Most minorities feels that a sense of insecurity, complete loss of identity & marginalization within Indian society and imposition of majorities outlook way forward for this situation are the government and society will have to work hard to build trust, but more importantly make common cause with social reformer rather religious conservatives rather than an omnibus approach, the government could bring separate aspects such as marriage, adoption, succession and maintenance into a UCC is stages need of the hour is the codification of all personal laws so that prejudice and stereotypes in every one of them would come to light and can be tested on the anvil of fundamental right of the constitution.
As concluding to my essay I want to say there is need of bringing awareness through discussion and deliberation among members of various communities to reach a common ground moreover is an abundant scope for enacting more such laws that are applicable to all regardless of religion and personal laws. UCC can only emerge through evolutionary process, which preserve India’s rich heritage of which all personal laws are equal constituent.
Current institution need to be modernized, democratized and strengthened for this change sincere effort toward women empowerment should be taken for all women of all religion plural democracy is an identity of modern India therefore focused on harmony in plurality than blanked uniformity for flourishing Indian democracy.